Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool's inspirational Rodgers strides from Carnlough to the promised land

Liverpool 3 manchester City 2

The final whistle blew. Anfield reverberated to the roar of victory, captain fantastic Steven Gerrard was reduced to tears on the pitch and in the stands Kenny Dalglish rose to his fabled feet to applaud a stunning success for the club he loves.

Dalglish, in 1990, was the last manager to bring the league title to Merseyside.

With every passing week, it looks more and more like Brendan Rodgers will be the next.

As referee Mark Clattenburg brought yesterday's thrilling proceedings to an end, amid overwhelming emotion and euphoria, this son of Carnlough Rodgers remained calm.

Having jumped for joy celebrating his side's three goals against Manchester City, the Northern Ireland native stayed in control of his satisfaction and joy when the biggest victory of his Liverpool reign was eventually secured.

It's been his cool, calculating, canny management that has taken the Reds this far. More of the same and the promised land awaits.

Yesterday's 3-2 win was a job well done, but the boss knows there is still much work to do to claim the club's first title for 24 years. Kopites can rest assured he will leave no stone unturned in his desire to make their dream a reality.

Growing up in Carnlough his parents instilled a strong work ethic into their first born and it has stood him in good stead. From then on, clearly those values have been passed on to his players because they had to work hard, in mind and body, to come through this, their most testing challenge to date in what is a spectacular quest for glory.

The Reds have been taking big steps all season under Rodgers (below). Yesterday was a giant one, beating one of their title rivals in the most enthralling game of a compelling campaign. City were magnificent for a fair chunk of the contest, yet it was Liverpool, displaying character and class, who came out on top to stay top of the table. This was the stuff of the champions from the men in red.

Further Reading

Nothing is ours yet - Gerrard 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, from the sleepy fishing port of Carnlough, is just four games away from historic league title 

Liverpool 3 Manchester City 2: Brendan Rodgers' Reds take giant step to first league title in 24 years after Philippe Coutinho's late strike secures thrilling victory

Remember Liverpool weren't just playing a football match, they were playing an occasion filled with raw emotion, as before kick-off Anfield fell silent to pay tribute to the 96 fans who went to Hillsborough almost 25 years ago to cheer on their team and never came home.

Some wondered if it would have an impact on the Liverpool players. It didn't.

They started fast, as they have done for most of the season at Anfield, giving the opposition no time to breathe, think or stem the red tide flowing their way.

City were 2-0 down before they knew what had hit them with the excellent Raheem Sterling and effective Martin Skrtel on target. It could have been double that in the first half hour as the home side, responding to raucous support, went on the rampage.

The visitors found a foothold but when they threatened, Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet denied them as did Sterling and Glen Johnson, both heading off the line. In that opening 45 minutes Rodgers' team were an irresistible force and immovable object!

After the break everything changed thanks to the magic of David Silva, Samir Nasri and lively substitute James Milner also shone, but it was the Spaniard who orchestrated a wonderful comeback. Silva was pure football gold for a 25 minute period in which he finished off a superb sweeping move and crossed leading to a Johnson own goal which brought the sides level.

With the fit again Sergio Aguero off from the bench, City had further opportunities, but failed to convert them. They were to rue those mistakes and a rare one by captain Vincent Kompany, whose sliced clearance allowed Philippe Coutinho, the boy from Brazil, to rifle a right foot drive home on 78 minutes.

Anfield erupted. Liverpool had won the game once, and now they had done it again in exhilarating fashion.

They would not let it slip twice, despite Jordan Henderson's late red card. City and Chelsea won't give up the chase, but momentum and maybe even fate is with the Reds now.

FOUR more victories against Norwich, Chelsea, Palace and Newcastle, to follow the 10 in a row already achieved, are needed for the fairytale to come true and for a man from county Antrim to forever have legendary status at Anfield. Brendan Rodgers is composed and clever enough to see it through.

Belfast Telegraph


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